This item is available on the Militant Islam Monitor website, at http://www.militantislammonitor.org/article/id/339
Blasphemy laws as an excuse to stifle free debate-" no time for arguments but for choosing the course...and nature... of Europe"
December 6, 2004
MIM: This is an open letter by a Dutch publisher to the lawyer who is representing Muslims filing a lawsuit against Danish Radio (and television) for broadcasting Theo van Gogh's film Submission. The letter was written by Mr.Shrover in english and this is the original text.
'The enemy of surbversive thought is not supression,but publication; truth has no need to fear the light of day;fallacies wither under it...' Sir Stanley Unwin, publisher.
Does Nemo want to answer Nescio? *
or: Does nobody want to answer - I do not know?
An open letter to Mr.Laue Traberg Schmidt
by Oscar Laurens Shrover
DR- (Danish Radio broadcasting) has recently shown the short movie Submission, by the Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh, shot after a script by Mrs. Ayaan Hirshi Ali, an apostate of Islam. Anonymous muslims have now threatened DR with a lawsuit. They want DR (Danish Radio) to stop the transmission of clips,as they are offensive to Islam.
Their appointed lawyer, Mr. Laue Traberg Schmidt, has told reporters he thinks the debate is one-sided, hotheaded, and prejudiced. I think Mr.Laue Traberg Schmidt is blurring the case,he forgets one crucial element, van Gogh was slain and his death pinpointed to fallacies besetting the debate about the existent minorities in
The facts about Submission are relatively simple:
Van Gogh, who was a distant relative of the famous Dutch painter, Vincent, has been murdered five weeks ago because he made a controversial film. The nature of this film is artistic, its imagery is rather languid, and offensive because of its message about the Islamic abuse of women. And that should suprise none who knows the statistics, and none who knows anything about Theo van Gogh's work. Theo van Gogh was particularly known for his offensive and abrasive language and the provocative projects he liked to entertain. Already twenty years ago his first real film Luger sparkled controversy, because of van Gogh's cruelty to animals. A cat was shown in a tumbling washing machine.
Mr. Theo van Gogh was always fond to shock his viewers and probe the fringes of vulgarity. Last year he told an interviewer that his offensiveness was really a reaction to dubious hypocrisy. He was, he contested a gentle man, and proud of his family. But did not boast of them. His father held a high post in Dutch intelligence, and his uncle and namesake Theo van Gogh was shot as member of the Dutch resistance by the Germans during the IInd World War. As an artist Theo van Gogh has persistently offended and fought others (verbally that is). He targeted Christians and Jews alike, and started, because of one of his sick Auschwitz-jokes, a long and arduous battle in and out of the court with mr. Leon de Winter, a Dutch-Jewish filmmaker/writer.
Mr. van Gogh was acquitted by the Dutch courts.
A number of years ago Theo van Gogh started targeting Islam and Dutch Islamic fundementalists, he called them all sorts of insulting names. Politically,Theo van Gogh was a liberal(libertarian). He was a staunch supporter of the murdered politician Mr. Pim Fortuyn, by many denounced as an exteme right-winger. Even the BBC depicted Fortuyn as nothing less than a tiny replica of that French monster Le Pen. Because of this Mr. Fortuyn had a sharp-tongued altercation with BBC-reporter Simpson, whom he dismissed and denounced as the man who single-handedly took
In the wake of the Fortuyn murder, van Gogh started an offensive against reactionary religious forces that, he felt, threatened the streets of
Van Gogh sought a debate and he formulated his viewpoints not in a very moderate and intellectual manner, like the former German chancellor Helmut Schmidt, who has analyzed the large scale settlement of Turkish and Moroccan immigrants in
And we were used to that.
Then Theo van Gogh was killed, and now we must side with the victim, we must, and not with the so-called legalists and the one-sidedness of Mr. Laue Traberg Schmidt. This is no time for seeking arguments but for choosing the course of
The details of the van Gogh killing are gruesome. Van Gogh was not murdered in a murky alley, in some undiscovered hinterland, no he was butchered in broad daylight, with cyclists going by, and passersby looking on; one stupefied haphazard crowd, fleeing, someone even shouting: 'do not do it, do not do it. You'll regret that later.' It was to no avail.
On a wet and windy november morning, a morning on the edge of winter where people were doing what they normally do on mondays and have their thoughts on the smallness of their lives or the largeness of their problems, they saw someone being murdered in cold blood. No sign, no warning was given in advance. It was a cowardly attack.
Theo van Gogh had left his house at the usual time, and went to buy his newspaper, at the usual address. He cycled, at his usual speed, to the offices of the Kommune Amsterdam, and then left, to pursue his journey to his usual destination, his studio. And then he was, unusually, approached by Mr. Mohammed Bouyeri.
Mr. Bouyeri, a 26 year old man of Maroccan descent, went up to him. He wore a black cap and a long brownish coat and drew a pistol. He fired calmly, his arm stretched, at close range. This was an execution, prepared for. The filmmaker van Gogh tried to fend off his attacker, he stumbled and then fled. Just a few steps. The assassin followed him hurriedly across the street, firing. Nine shots in all. Van Gogh fell, and mumbled, bleeding. Then mr.Bouyeri looking down on his helpless victim took his long knife and gorged the filmmaker. Calmly, as if he was performing a ritual slaughter, he could be killing a sheep or a goat.
He certified himself that Mr.van Gogh was dead and then pinned a 5 page leaflet with his knife in the middle of the chest of the filmmaker. This paper contained philippics against blasphemy and unbelievers such as the co-author of the film, Mrs. Ayaan Hirshi Ali, and promises about the destruction of
On the other side of the park officers found Van Gogh dead. He had been shot, gorged, and stabbed several times. A victim beyond help.
And then a storm broke loose. A Turkish Islamic school in Uden was set ablaze. Some newspapers all too quickly, condemned the act as racially motivated and compared the action with fascist attacks on synagogues in 1938 during the Reichkristallnacht. A small bomb went off, a mosque burnt down, a wooden baracs-like structure in
Police started raiding the hide-outs of alleged terrorists, and arrested a number of them, among them two young Dutch-american citizens living in
Next, Abdul-Jabbar van de Ven gave cause for controversy. He was the cyber-iman counselling the young terrorists in
But, but: Adbdul-Jabbar is not an immigrant, he was born Mr. Jilles van de Ven, and trained for teacher and converted to Islam during the First Guld War. In the nineties he studied Koran in
The material damage in the wake of the van Gogh killing might not seem very large, but the wounds cannot be easily overlooked. There is cause to speak about major psychological damage to the Dutch soul. And this damage will not disappear quickly through the Polder-style negotiations the
A definite blow has been struck at the pretended tolerance and peaceful co-existence, the past has melted away. Suddenly the educational system no longer seems an endless road to paradise and multicultural happiness and integration abruptly halts at the steel doors of an excited religion. The Islamists do not waver their religious rights and have bolted their door, carrying a plate, modernity, no admission granted.. No discussion about religion tolerated.
And the chilling facts are such Mr. Laue Traberg Schmidt: Mr. Mohammed Bouyeri, the killer was a second-generation immigrant. He didn't seem predestined to act in such a violent manner. Moreover, he held a college degree and during recent Parliamentary elections he led the political debates in his neighbourhood. Local politicians and communal workers marked him as potentially promising.
Someone who lived here and worked here and knew the mores of the
What is wrong with that and what is next?
Obviously the lawsuits are next. Skilfully manipulated by Islamists who threaten opponents, and want to condemn each and every vociferous critic of Islam, posing as moderates. But they show, through Mr. Laue Traberg Schmidt that their holy book knows of no boundaries. But the question is now: do we?
A heated debate has erupted in the
The Dutch prime-minister Mr. Jan-Peter Balkenende has hedged his bets on a new code of ethics. His justice minister Mr. Hein Donner gave a preview of what is meant, by reminding the Dutch there was still a blasphemy law in the Dutch Penal Code. Subsequently people started lawsuits. Suddenly we are talking about blasphemy and about lawsuits, and insults.
What has gone wrong?
This might seem an appropriate route to Mr. Laue Traberg Schmidt, but it is really a reckless escape to avoid facing the real debate and questions such as: 'what place can we attribute to freedom of religion in our society? What nature shall
No, Mr. Laue Traberg Schmidt has introduced a fallacy to the debaters, a red herring, that simplifies the problem.
MIM: Oscar Laurens Schrover is a writer, author and publisher who lives in s'Hertogenbosch,
MIM: * Mr. Shrover explained that Nemo is the name of 'Nobody" and was the answer that the one eyed giant Polyphemus gave to Odyesseus.
Nescio, literally translated means, "I don't know" and is the name of the writer Nescio, who began one of his books with the immortal line; " We were boys, but nice boys, if I have to say so myself ..' http://www.nescio.info/
Submission - Theo van Gogh: www.ifilm.com/ifilmdetail/2655656
For more on this see:'What part of 'free speech' didn't you understand ?'
"While the debate continues in Danmark politicians are pointing to the rise of extremism. One of the Islamist groups that advocate extremism, they say, is Hizb-ut-Tahrir, as it seeks to establish a strict Islamic state in Danmark.
The Danish Prime minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen told a reporter of Jyllands Posten: 'Their is a great similarity with nazism, I believe they have an antidemocratic disposition.' And Mr. Fogh Rasmussen added: 'Extremism is basically authoritarian, democracy must be cancelled and a dictatorship installedóin this case a religious leader.' We must, the Danish Prime minister stressed, treat these groups as we have treated the Nazis. "
Muslims Accuse Danish TV
Translated by Beila Rabinowitz- director MIM
COPENHAGEN, Dec 5 (AFP) - A group of Muslims has reported a Danish broadcaster to the police for repeatedly airing a controversial film about Muslim oppression of women, Danish media reported on Sunday.
Some 20 Muslims are pressing charges against Danish public broadcaster Danmarks Radio (DR) for airing recently murdered Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh`s film "Submission" in its entirety, as well as for repeatedly showing clips from the film in newscasts.
"My clients feel deeply offended," Laue Traberg Smidt, the lawyer representing the group, told DR on Sunday, adding that both Muslim clerics and members of the general public were among his clients.
"They have all come to me independently of each other because they feel that Danmarks Radio has gone too far, and that it is ignoring that the film is seen as an extraordinarily serious and manipulative insult against their religion," he added.
Van Gogh was brutally murdered on November 2 by a suspected Islamic radical apparently angered by his portrayal of Islam in the film, which shows women talking about abuse dressed in see-through robes with texts from the Koran painted on their bodies.
DR news director Lisbeth Knudsen rejected that the broadcaster`s decision to air the film and clips from the film constituted incitement to religious hatred.
"We are not airing clips from the film to feed on sensationalism or to offend those who have been offended by it (the film). We show these clips to put the debate over limited or unlimited freedom of speech into perspective," she said.
12/05/2004 16:08 GMT - AFP
Images From The Film Submission, For This van Gogh Was Killed?
Following a previous Hyscience post entitled "Update To The Film That Cost van Gogh His Life," numerous readers have emailed asking why Muslims would find the film so offensive. In that above-linked post a link to the film was provided along with the following disclaimer: "Hyscience does not take a position on the truth or validity of the depiction of Islam in the film, but is simply advising it's readers where the film may be viewed. "Submission" is not a documentary, but a metaphorical look at the harsh realities of the lives of some Muslim women. (In English with Dutch subtitles.)"
Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh was killed November 2, 2004, by a 26-year-old extremist Muslim of Dutch-Moroccan descent. The current theory is that he was taken down for his critical look at the treatment of Muslim women. (In English with Dutch subtitles.)
The film's screenwriter, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, grew up an upper-class Muslim in Somalia. In '92 she escaped to the Netherlands, mastered the language and attended university to study political science. Now a politician, she has received death threats for numerous stances she's taken and activities she's undertaken. But as a self-proclaimed ex-Muslim, she has taken it upon herself to make the plight of oppressed Muslim women known to the West--and to hopefully end their suffering.
A few Muslim readers have commented via email that a Muslim woman wearing revealing attire with verses of the Koran on her body is essentialy to a Muslim, anathema (my word not theirs). In order that non-Muslims may have a better understanding what the Muslims find so offensive about the film without having to see the film in it's entirety, a view representative images from the film are presented here for viewing. If you are a Muslim or if you think you will find the images offensive, simply don't look or enlarge the images. There is no intent to offend anyone's religion, merely to aid non-Muslims in understanding what some may find offensive. The images do not appear to be pornographic. The images are provided for educational purposes only.
Stills from the film Submission
This item is available on the Militant Islam Monitor website, at http://www.militantislammonitor.org/article/id/339